Published: March 11 2011
Number of pages: 472
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Genre: fantasy, mystery, fairy tale retelling
Rating: 2/5 owl hoots
Azalea feels trapped. Her lavish lifestyle from ball gowns to suitors and dancing are all taken away from her. The Keeper understands as he is trapped too within the walls of the palace, but he extends an invitation to Azalea and her sisters to dance in the silver forest. But there is a cost as the Keeper likes to keep things, and Azalea might not realize how trapped she is in his web of deceit.
If you are looking for a really cute story with an adorable romance and a plot that doesn’t require your concentration then this book is for you. I was looking for a cute and cozy read so I didn’t feel too bad after finishing it, but I did find some issues with the ending or else I would have given this a 3/5 rating.
The little princesses were my favorite characters as they are so cute together! They are so charismatic, funny, playful and adorable that they make a complete package. The princesses really look out for each other as they stay close but they also have a tense relationship with their father, calling him “sir” rather then papa. Azalea tries to straighten things out with her father but she struggles because he keeps pushing his daughters away. In the beginning, the King barely shows any signs of affection and I thought it might be because of his political role as he tries to deal with his affairs first before his family. He is clearly portrayed as this cold, serious, and stubborn person which I didn’t like especially during a tragic time when his daughters needed him the most. But as the story progresses we see a slight change to the King as he slowly starts to show love and admiration for his daughters.
As the story is a retelling of the children’s classic The Twelve Dancing Princesses we keep reading about the sister’s love of dancing and how their life would be miserable without lavish gowns and balls. It was pretty repetitive as more than once the princesses would moan and complain how their life will turn black and white without dancing, that I kept wondering if these girls did anything else, like reading or exploring the castle grounds. There was way too much focus on the sub plots (such as the stories behind the princesses’ suitors), that it took away the focus on the main plot about the Keeper and his evil plans for the palace. It was as if the little sisters weren’t even worried about the Keeper, all they cared about was dancing! There is an evil doer lurking around, do something about him!
The romance was pretty cute and fluffy like icing on a cake. There wasn’t much chemistry building up between Azalea and her admirer as it was clear in the beginning that these two both liked each other. When the King tries to find a suitor for Azalea as Royal Business, many of the suitors he finds are quirky and ridiculously silly, which helped add some laugh-out-loud moments to the plot.
Overall the story put me a better mood as it is very playful and romantic but there were a few problems with the storyline that were hard to ignore. I am still confused about the magical handkerchief (yes you read that right) and how it worked in the ending. I also thought it wasn’t clear as to what happened to the King and how he survived in the end; was that scene even real or magic? What about Azalea’s last dream or was that even a dream at all? Too many questions that could have easily been explained in detail as to whether these moments were real or not. I didn’t love the story but I liked it and I was looking for a cute story to read at the time.